The Crown costume designer who recreated Princess Diana’s ‘revenge dress’ says look was ’empowering’
A costume designed by The Crown has talked about recreating Princess Diana’s most memorable looks for the small screen – including her famous “revenge dress” – in an interview with The times.
The late Princess of Wales wore the famous black Christina Stambolian ruffled mini dress to the Vanity Fair party at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 1994.
It was the the same night King Charles confessed to having been unfaithful in a television documentary, admitted what he said done, but said it only happened as soon as the marriage was ‘irreparably broken’.
According to Anna Harvey, a close friend of Princess Diana, quoted in a 1997 Vogue article, the Royal Family originally feared the mini black dress was “too risqué” and planned to wear a Valentino design for the event. , but after hearing about her ex-husband’s documentary, wanted to “look like a million bucks” on the rough night.
Now the look has been recreated for series five of The Crown, with Sidonie Roberts, buyer and assistant costume designer on the Netflix show, telling the outlet that the look represented “the birth of an icon for women around the world.”
‘Revenge Dress’: Diana, Princess of Wales, famously donned this Christina Stambolian black frill mini dress at the 1994 Vanity Fair party at the Serpentine Gallery in London (pictured)
The outfit, including the pearl necklace with a large sapphire, was recreated for Netflix’s royal drama (Picture: Elizabeth Debicki plays Princess Diana in series five of The Crown)
Sidonie, who oversaw the recreation of the fashion moment, said: “We cannot overestimate its impact.
“In the revenge dress, we not only have the birth of a new woman, we have the birth of an icon for women around the world. It was a deeply empowering moment.’
The look can be seen in the trailer for series five, which will be available on Netflix from November 9.
A short clip in the trailer shows the fictional Diana (played by Elizabeth Debicki) arriving at the Serpentine Gallery’s summer party in June 1994.
That same evening, the BBC documentary Prince Charles: The Private Man, the King’s Public Role was broadcast to the public in an attempt to restore his reputation after his divorce.
During the infamous interview, the monarch admitted to journalist Jonathan Dimbleby that he had been unfaithful in his marriage – but only after it had “broken irreparably”.
According to Sidonie Roberts, purchasing agent and assistant costume designer for The Crown, mimicking the royal family’s well-known outfits required “an extensive amount of research” (Photo: Diana, Princess of Wales at The Serpentine Gallery Fundraising Gala in 1995)
A similar dress was featured on the programme, but worn by the actor who played Diana in a scene depicting one of Diana’s last public appearances, when she attended a royal gala performance of the English National Ballet’s Swan Lake in June 1997 ( photo: Elizabeth Debicki plays Princess Diana in series five of The Crown)
The black mini dress is just one of the outfits recreated by the show. According to Sidonie, “extensive research” has gone into mimicking the well-known ensembles worn by the royal family.
She told The Times that the production team is aware that “everyone is waiting for those moments,” and so “trying to do them justice by staying as close to reality as possible.”
Another outfit that may seem familiar to royal viewers is a blue mini-dress with a necklace, which is almost identical to the one the princess wore at a 1995 fundraising gala at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park.
However, the scene shows one of Diana’s last public appearances, when she attended a royal gala performance of the English National Ballet’s Swan Lake in June 1997.
Another iconic look for the royal was this red jacket she paired with black trousers and a blue baseball cap during a 1994 skiing holiday in Lech (pictured)
A clip from the trailer shows the fictional version of the royal wearing a very similar red puffer jacket and blue cap (Pictured: Elizabeth Debicki playing Princess Diana in series five of The Crown)
Also missing from the Royal Albert Hall scene is the pearl and diamond necklace that became so synonymous with the engagement that it was sold at auction 20 years later as the ‘Swan Lake necklace’ for £10 million.
Another outfit seen in the trailer, which replicates one of Diana’s famous looks, is one she wore on a 1994 ski vacation in Lech, where she paired a blue baseball cap with a red puffer jacket.
Sidonie, who also pointed out the process of creating original costumes, said that putting together costumes for outfits not captured on camera could be more difficult than mimicking the famous looks actor Elizabeth Debicki wore on the series.
Last year it was announced that Elizabeth would take over from Emma Corrin and play Diana for the fifth and sixth series, which will cover Diana’s death in 1997.
The actress said of her casting last year: “The spirit of Princess Diana, her words and her actions are alive in the hearts of so many. It’s a privilege and honor for me to be a part of this masterful series, which I was absolutely hooked on from episode one.”